For sauna lovers in the USA, the Kuuma stove is basically the Macbook Pro of wood-fired sauna stoves. I’d love to get one for my mobile sauna but to stay on budget I decided to go with a $799 Karhu 16CK stove from Superior Saunas in Wisconsin.
I actually had kind of a tough time finding wood-fired sauna stoves in the USA. Kuuma stoves seem amazing but they’re just under $1,900 delivered for their small stove (plenty big for a 7x7x7 sauna) with the window option.
The Harvia M3 seems like one of the leaders of the low end at around $800 delivered. Rocks aren’t included with a typical Harvia purchase, which adds another $200 or so. They’re made of sheet metal and probably have a life expectancy of 10 years. That’s about $100 per year. When I spoke with Kuuma they mentioned their stoves should last 40-50 years. That puts the total yearly cost at $38-48. I don’t think their stoves include rocks, but either way the long-term cost is lower and the stove is probably 3 times better. Plus it supports a small, family-owned business.
But while I’d love to get the Kuuma, my wife and I agreed to a budget for this project; so I’m sticking with a low-end stove for now. I couldn’t find any Harvia M3s from sellers in the USA or Canada, possibly because of a shortage due to covid. After some digging around I found the 16CK and decided to go with it. It seems like similar construction to the M3 and includes the rocks. Both stoves are designed to handle rooms twice the size of my sauna room (about 7x7x7 feet).
I added the stove board option for $179.95 from Superior given freight is free for any order over $750. Later, I learned I could’ve got the same stove board from Tractor Supply down the street for $80. I also added the water tank option for $250 given my sauna will be mobile; it might be nice to be able to enjoy a warm shower when we’re off the grid. (Can you tell I’m not the best with budgets?) My total cost was $1,325.
The stove was delivered on a pallet and expertly packed. The only downside was the freight company required I be home to inspect the package and refuse it if there’s any damage; this was kind of a pain since I’m building my sauna 30 minutes from where I live.
I’ll update this post once I fire up the stove for the first time.